I just saw this film last night and fell completely, head over heels in love with it.
Directed by the master of eerie, Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey), and based on the novel by Steven King, this film haunts and horrifies and leaves an indelible impression. The story is about Jack Torrance (played by the playfully demonic Jack Nicholson), a writer who takes a job as the winter caretaker of a huge, beautiful, and spooky hotel in the mountains of Colorado. With him, he brings his wife Wendy (played by the wispy, vulnerable Shelley Duvall) and his son, Danny (Danny Lloyd). In the first 30 minutes of the film, we are introduced to some cringe-worthy topics. The hotel's history, including the previous caretaker's murder of his wife and daughters, Jack's previous abuse of his son, Danny's imaginary friend "Tony", and a foresighted cook played by Scatman Kruthers.
This information haunts our subconscious as we watch the family dissolve into the horrors of the Overlook Hotel. We watch Jack give into his dark side, Danny surrender to the orders of his inner demon, Tony, and Wendy shrivel in fear. All without too much actual action or scene-change.
The fear derived from the film is all from the craft work of Kubrick. The music drives the film incredibly, with an Oscar-worthy score by Béla Bartók. The crashing percussion and urgent violins can make your heart race during some of the calmest scenes. The cinematography is exquisite, capturing the spooky vastness of the story's main set, the Overlook Hotel, with a sense of appreciation mixed with looming disaster. Even if you don't fully enjoy the film, the behind-the-scenes are worth watching. They include intimate moments with Jack Nicholson, a playful interview with the talented young star, Danny Lloyd, Kubrick vs. Duvall squabbles, and the joyous tears of Scatman Kruthers.
I have loved each and every one of Stanley Kubrick's masterpieces, but this is definitely my favorite. So wait until dark, gather your loved ones, and enjoy your week at Colorado's scenic Overlook Hotel...